Pitchforks and Torches! Cory Doctorow talks to Wetmachine

Cory Doctorow–noted spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, of which he is a Fellow; science fiction author; uberblogger of metacool boing boing; alumnus of the legendary Clarion writer’s workshop; and friend of Harold Feld –stopped by Wetmachine last week for a little chat.

To be precise, he joined me and chief Wetmachine mechanic Gary Gray in the lobby of the Sheraton Hilton in Boston, where he had been staying in his capacity of Notable Luminary at Boskone 43. He chatted with us for an hour, and Gary recorded our conversation on one of his nifty gadgets.

I asked Cory to vamp on the four themes:

1) The EFF — in particular, what big fights are coming up in the next five years or so, and how Cory handicaps the good guys’ and bad guys’ prospects;

2) Trends in publishing, (with particular reference to how yours truly can make money on his self-published books);

3) What’s interesting to write about;

4) Clarion.

As you’ll hear if you listen to the podcast, Cory is an articulate guy who talks fast. In the first part of the interview he talks about: how the United States is “creating trade obligations for itself abroad” and cases where “an appointed bureaucrat from the administrative branch [is] subverting what’s going on with elected representatives in Congress”; ominous proposals to change so called “intermediary liability standards” and ways that lawyered-up bullies use copyright laws to shut down legitimate speech without due process; the World Intellectual Property Organization as a bunch of pipsqueaks who are awakening the sleeping giants of internet stakeholders from corporate boardrooms to average human beans like me and you; and how “people are starting to have a burgeoning consciousness of the politics of information freedom.”

The next time the antiliberal forces try to “burn down the library”, Cory says, we need to be there with pitchforks and torches! pitchforks and torches! to tell them we won’t put up with it.

This is our inaugural Wetmachine podcast; apologies in advance for any glitches. The sounds you hear in the background are other people — children mostly– who were hanging about in the lobby. The deep-voiced person who asks the questions, trips over his words, and says “right, right” a lot is me. The reclusive Gary’s voice does not appear in this part, but I believe we got him on one of the other sections, to be posted over the next few days.


[update: Sorry for multiple posting noise to any of you on RSS feeds. Gary and I are trying to figure out why the link to mp3 works when he posts and not when I post. . .]

It's beginning to look a lot like Winter Gift Exchange Pretext, and everywhere you go. . .

Hello-hoh-hoh my little friends! Well it’s that “Happy Holidays” time of year, when folks of good cheer put up the Happy Holidays tree and light the Happy Holidays menorah and go shopping for gifts appropriate to the the function of acknowledging and cementing social relationships that are primarily based on kinship or affection! I love this time of year! Why, just this past weekend my own dear spouse and offspring unit #3 spent two solid days baking Happy Holidays cookies while I dug out the boxes of pagan light-capturing-and-reflecting baubles from their storage spot under the stairs ! Talk abut a cozy scene! And then yesterday it snowed. “I’m dreaming of a White Winter Gift Exchange Pretext” indeed!

In that spirit, let me do a little “Santa’s helper” bit and be so bold as to point out that nothing will brighten up your favorite technoparanoiac’s Winter Gift Exchange Pretext morning more than gift-wrapped, signed copies (more is better than fewer) of my famous , astounding, ultimate hacker, bioparanoid, did I say geeky novel Acts of the Apostles and the metafictional marvel Cheap Complex Devices? You can purchase them from Amazon — but Amazon’s supply is running low and might not be replenished in time for Flying Spahetti Monster day, (or whatever day you celebrate in your house). Why not be sure and order directly from me? (Besides, I make more money this way).

Of if you want to skip the books for whatever reason and just give me a gift to express your gratitude for my hosting Tales of the Sausage Factory, Inventing the Future, and random stuff from the rest of the wetmachiners, include our own Cowboy Neal, Gary Gray, why, just click on the “Give Me Money” button to the left. Or put a check in the mail! That works too. Please understand that selling my books is the way I pay for hosting this site, so if you dig wetmachine I would certainly appreciate the help — not to mention that the books are actually good.

And I’ll be there for Winter Gift Exchange Pretext, if only in my dreams.

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Wetmachine designer & webmaster Gary Gray and I met tonight to go over plans for tweaks to the site, coming Real Soon Now.

We have a couple of goals in mind. Firstly, we want to make “Tales of the Sausage Factory” and “Inventing the Future” more accessible to their readerships. So there will be separate RSS feeds for these series, and vectors into the archives by author/topic. There will be sign-ups for various Wetmachine mailing lists. It will be more obvious how to post comments and how to get in touch with the various Wetmachiners.

Below the fold: your chance to jump into the Gary-John brawl over the “feel” of the site.

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